Vladimir Rakhmanin | Deputy Editor
The National Media Conference 2013 took place on Saturday 16th in Trinity College. The Conference was set up by Trinity students in order to ‘provide a platform…to gain insight into fields of interest and engage with professionals from across the media’.
The opening address was made by Kevin O’Sullivan, the editor of the Irish Times. He stressed the fact that ‘quality journalism has never been so important’, as well as mentioning other current issues in the field, such as the rise of social media and defamation.
The first roundtable, which was to do with whether or not the Irish media today represents the Irish population, began soon afterwards. The participants were Bob Collins, Chairperson of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, Sinead O’Carroll, News Editor of journal.ie, Lord David Puttnam, and Academy Award-winning film producer, and Catherine Reilly, Deputy Editor of Metro Eireann.
The discussion dealt with the need for the people to gather information from diverse news sources and the responsibility to represent minorities within the media. The balance between audience interest and purpose was also mentioned. The floor was then opened to questions.
After the first roundtable, the audience had the option to go to either the sports journalism panel or the radio panel.
The first panel dealt with whether or not minority sports and women receive adequate coverage in sport today. It featured Darren Cleary, radio and television broadcaster, Breifne Earley, sports presenter on 103.2 Dublin City FM, Amy Eustace, chief sports writer of the University Observer, and Cliona Foley, a sports journalist with the Irish Independent and independent.ie.
The second panel dealt with why the radio is such a successful medium in Ireland. It featured Joe Duffy, presenter of RTE’s Liveline show, Clare Duignan, former Managing Director of RTE Radio, Ger Gilroy, presenter of Newstalk’s ‘Off the Ball’ programme, and Patrick Hannon, a lecturer on radio in the DIT School of Media.
After a lunch break, the audience gathered once again for a second roundtable. This roundtable was to do with the democratisation of the media, and the difficulty in trusting online sources.
The participants were Conor Goodman, Features Editor of the Irish Times, Fran McNulty, a long-time member of the RTE staff, and Tom Murphy, co-founder of Boards.ie. The discussion in this particular talk was very lively, with lots of audience engagement.
The final two panels dealt with reporting on the ground and film. The subject of the first panel’s discussion was to do with methods of content sourcing and verification in the digital age, and how this affects journalism.
The second panel’s discussion was to do with upcoming trends in mainstream cinema, and what Ireland’s place within these new trends is.
Future for NMC
Co-founder and Director of Logistics, David Cullinan, was delighted to see so many students, professionals and general media enthusiasts attending.
According to Cullinan the high attendance was “validating our efforts to provide a platform for discussion and debate on issues facing the journalism, broadcasting and filmmaking industries”.
The conference is crucially reliant on input from students and professionals and Cullinan wanted to acknowledge the lively audience input and generosity of our speakers in contributing to the success of the event.
“I am also tremendously proud of the trojan efforts this year’s organising team made,” he said. “It would not be possible to coordinate such an event without their tireless work and dedication”.
Speaking about the future of the National Media Conference, Cullinan did not know whether it will continue into 2014. That decision is “yet to be decided”, but Cullinan believes that “there is definitely much more scope to expand upon and continue this student-led initiative and I, for one, would look forward to seeing what direction the conference takes in the future”.